Food Season on the Boob Tube

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Move over, Rachael; there are some new shows in town.
It seems as if food has become almost as popular a subject for television programming as reality shows -- when the two are combined, like on Top Chef, Kitchen Nightmare's, and Hell's Kitchen, the result is stratospheric. To be honest, I've never really been a fan of contest-style reality programming, regardless of whether it's about food. I'm much more interested in shows that might teach me something (and you can just about forget the Food Network in that regard these days). Anyhow, there are a bunch of food shows that have either just began or are about to begin new seasons shortly. Check out Clean Plate Charlie's list of what's in season on TV right now: 

Ramsay Overload

The F Word
: Some say the bigger you are, the harder you fall. If the naysayers are right, foul-mouthed celeb chef Gordon Ramsay is headed for a mighty big crash. Gordon's such a big deal right now, it's hard to imagine any of his multitude of Fox shows failing miserably. But for a look at a show that doesn't just paint him as Simon Cowell on a bad hair day, check out his original BBC show, The F Word. BBC America is currently showing episodes of the show's third series daily, and it's phenomenal. Each episode, Gordon showcases recipes that border on the pornographic intertwined with intriguing food reporting segments that delve into alternative protein sources, highlight trends in nutrition, or profile exotic delicacies like  maggot-filled Italian cheese called casu marzu. The fourth series is also showing new episodes on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. through August 5. Don't miss this one. 

Hell's Kitchen: The new season continues to draw in droves of fans hungering for high-stakes drama. Episode four will debut Tuesday at 8 p.m. during the show's regular time slot.

Kitchen Nightmares: Ramsay's other Fox drama is currently shooting its third season and is scheduled to debut this fall.

Star Power

Top Chef: Bravo's series that culls chefs from around the world to compete has been a huge hit for the network among foodies and nonfoodies alike. The latest season of the program brings the flame to Sin City; we're hoping to see some of the strip's most interesting personalities show up as guest judges. (Question: What do you suppose Celine Dion eats? Puppies?) South Florida will be representing again this season as well: Hollywood Beach Marriott's executive chef, Ron Duprat, will join the cast when the series starts Wednesday, August 19, at 9 p.m.

The Next Food Network Star: The abysmal Top Chef clone ended Sunday night with a win by Melissa d'Arabian. Food Network is sure to show the repeats until the debut of Melissa's new show, which, if it follows the trend of nearly all the other Food Network "stars," will be off the air in three episodes. 

No Reservations: Writer, chef, critic, and human tornado Anthony Bourdain just keeps chugging along, visiting and reporting on the food and lifestyles of faraway countries and forgotten strips of land. The fifth season of his Emmy-nominated show is in full swing. The third episode will show tonight at 10 on the Travel Channel.

What Were You Thinking, Food Network?

Chefs vs. City: Food Network has a bunch of new stinkers coming out, but we're on the fence with this one. Chefs Aaron Sanchez and Chris Cosentino of Centrico/Paladar and Incanto respectively failed on the Next Iron Chef, but apparently execs at the network still think there might be something there. The new series is an extension of Bobby Flay's Throwdown: the pair will travel from city to city challenging local chefs to ridiculous and inane cooking challenges. It shows on Fridays at 10 p.m.

Five Ingredient Fix: The latest cooking program from a network that's in short supply of them has a self-explanatory gimmick. New episodes show Sundays at 12:30 p.m.

What Would Brian Boitano Make?: Are you for real? A whole show inspired by a song from the South Park movie, which, might I add, came out more than ten years ago? Uhhh... OK, Food Network, if you want to try to appeal to aging hipsters looking for a show to watch while stoned at 1 a.m., that's your call. The series will follow figure-skater-cum-superhero Brian Boitano -- for real -- as he "demonstrates his culinary skills and passion for one-of-a-kind entertaining." I'm sure he'll kick an ass or two Sundays at 1 p.m. starting August 23.

The Bizarre

Extreme Cuisine With Jeff Corwin: Follow the Animal Planet alum as he sets off on Bourdain-like adventures. Thursdays at 9 p.m. starting September 17.

Food Party: The wacky IFC program features puppets, a cardboard kitchen, and celebrity guests. It's fucking crazy, like making a batch of macaroni and cheese on acid. Check it out on Tuesdays at 11:15 p.m. on IFC.

Chopped: Ted Allen's challenge show is actually pretty decent, even though Allen acts as stiff as a board here (stop reading off the cue cards, Ted). Catch new episodes Tuesdays at 10 p.m.

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